The role of Caesar has been given to Aaron Pierre, a London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art graduate known for his parts in various historical drama series such as Brittania and Tennison; and Mbedu has been cast as Cora, Caesar’s love interest and the main focal point of the narrative.
According to an interview Mbedu gave to Huffington Post South Africa, the process of portraying Winnie, a young woman who chases marriage to a rich rugby player, was a rigorous one. “I allowed myself to get so lost in the character that I became the character,” she said when explaining that filming a rape scene caused her to suffer an anxiety attack. “I felt so traumatized and so powerless in the moment.
The search for the lead role in Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of The Underground Railroad, has come to an end: Thuso Mbedu has officially been cast as Cora, the main character of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel.
The 27-year-old spent the past year starring on one of South Africa’s most popular television series, a soap opera called Generations: The Legacy, and also scored two International Emmy Award nominations for portraying a young woman named Winnie on Is’thunzi, a teen drama series for the country’s Mzansi Magic channel.
Although she only began acting four years ago, when Mbedu stars in The Underground Railroad she’ll make history as the first South African actress to lead an American television series.
Dillon, whom audiences will recognize when he appears on BET’s First Wives Club series adaptation this fall and when he stars as Young Igwe in Kumail Nanjiani’s AppleTV+ series, Little America, has been cast as Homer.
Per reports from Variety, Jenkins has given the main roles of Cora, Homer, and Caesar, three slaves who seek freedom from Southern plantations via the Underground Railroad, to actors who are relatively new to American audiences. Chase W.
The Underground Railroad will consist of 11 one-hour episodes written and directed by Jenkins, as part of his first foray into directing an entire television series.